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Report Card 2010

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California Polytechnic State University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Courtesy of California Polytechnic State University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $166 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: San Luis Obispo, California

Enrollment: 18,369

Type: Public


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: No

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
B +
The Sustainability Advisory Committee publishes a sustainability report describing the university's progress, policies, and goals for the future. The committee has also written sustainability goals for the updated strategic plan. There are six full-time sustainability staff. A purchasing policy mandates Energy Star appliances, 30 percent postconsumer recycled office paper, and Green Seal-certified cleaning products.
The university has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010. To date, Cal Poly has reduced emissions to 10 percent below 1996 levels. The campus has implemented over 100 energy efficiency projects, including digital controls for the HVAC system, building retrocommissioning, and lighting retrofits.
The university spends 10 percent of its dining budget on local foods from six farms and eleven processors. Some greens are organic, and lettuce comes from the campus farm. A portion of dining halls run composting programs for both pre- and postconsumer food waste. Nearly 70 percent of campus waste is diverted, including scrap metal, textbooks, concrete, and tires. Students' unwanted goods are collected at move-out for donation.
All new buildings must meet LEED certification standards and exceed California's energy codes by 15 percent. One building has been renovated to the Silver level. Occupancy sensors for lights have been installed in nearly half of all buildings. All dorms have low-flow showerheads, and 40 percent of campus buildings feature low-flow toilets, urinals, and faucets.
The student-run Empower Poly Coalition is a collection of 27 student clubs. The coalition is working on a green fund, has hosted conferences, and is working to ban plastic bags and bottles. The group has also worked on an organic farm, campus-wide composting, and converting dining trucks to run on biodiesel.
There are reserved parking spots, subsidies, and guaranteed rides home for community members who carpool; additionally, commuters using alternative transportation have access to vehicles from a car-sharing program during the day. All faculty, staff, and students can ride public transit for free. A free van service is available on campus in the evenings, and there is a bike-sharing program. The vehicle fleet includes 55 electric cars.
The university makes a list of external managers available online to the public. A list of other endowment holdings is available at the investment office to the public per open record law. The university does not make the shareholder voting record of its mutual funds or other commingled funds public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and does not invest in renewable energy funds or community development loan funds.
The university does not have the ability to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds or other commingled funds.
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